Review Summary: Although not quite as solid as their debut, Young Guns' sophomore effort is an enjoyable record which stands out amongst the wide array of (relatively) mainstream rock music there is to offerAll Our Kings Are Dead
was a fantastic debut album. Pumping up a Lostprophets-esque energy with catchy melodies and immense choruses, before adding dark overtones and mesmerising guitar leads to create a gorgeous atmosphere, it propelled Young Guns right to the forefront of the British rock scene. It was mainstream rock at its freshest, its most passionate and just generally its absolute best. Honestly, topping it was going to be extremely difficult.
isn’t particularly different to its predecessor. Gustav Wood is still crooning out powerful melodies, the large power chords are still present as well as atmospheric guitar leads occasionally combined with synthesisers, pianos and acoustic guitars for added depth. Frankly, Young Guns didn’t really need to change much anyway; they pretty much perfected the sound they were going for right from the start. On Bones
however, something seems to have been lost a little. The same passion that would captivate the listener for the entirety of a song over and over on All Our Kings Are Dead
is less consistent on Bones
, and whereas on the debut each song held its own, on here they are less separable and less cohesive. The atmosphere that gave the debut its best songs has been toned down a little too, and the other components don’t quite take up the slack. All Our Kings Are Dead
had more variety as well, with heavier songs, softer songs, more atmospheric songs and more stripped down, regular rock songs, all adding their worth to the whole.
is definitely more an album of ‘the moments’, rather than the songs as a whole, but although it doesn’t quite match up to its older brother on consistency and general quality, it’s still a great album. The catchy melodies are subtler and less hard hitting, but they’re still there and often take a few listens to fully open up to the listener’s ears, most notably on opener “I Was Born, I Have Lived, I Will Surely Die” and lead single “Learn My Lesson”. Young Guns are still at their best when they bring in atmosphere, especially on the title-track (also quite probably the album highlight) and the grandiose “Headlights”, which employs a shuddering bass and intense tremolo picking right from the offset. “You Are Not” is another immense and atmospheric number right the way through and despite a little cheesiness throughout the album (it doesn’t really get much cheesier than an acoustic guitar in a song called “A Hymn For All I’ve Lost”), there’s still something deep about Gustav singing the line ‘everything ends…’
as his vocals fade away into the reverb, and closer “Broadfields” is equally elegant.
Despite occasional blips such as “Dearly Departed”, “Towers (On My Way)” and “Brother In Arms” (the more upbeat, straightforward and coincidentally weaker songs), the album is a great follow up to Young Guns’ debut. Although it doesn’t quite stand the weight of expectation, Bones
still places Young Guns far ahead of most of their counterparts and shows just how deep and convincing relatively ordinary rock music can be in the right hands.